As we head into the holidays, many of us will gather with family, some of us with joy and others with a knot in our stomachs, anticipating trouble ahead. Family dynamics are tricky and it's hard for even the most competent, therapized person in the world not to end up fighting with a sibling over Dad's car keys. These patterns are formed so early and are so ingrained, it's hard to not take the bait. When you notice your brother slipping into drunk uncle mode and you feel that tightening in your chest, listen to your body. Slip into the bathroom, take some long deep breathes and splash cold water on your face. This will reset your central nervous system and help you to relocate your adult self. Then, when you feel grounded again, go back out there.
Rinse and repear if necessary.